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Tea Board lays stress on tapping domestic market

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TEA CARNIVAL: Students registering their names for competitions organised by Tea Board in Chennai on Friday. Photo: S. Thanthoni
TEA CARNIVAL: Students registering their names for competitions organised by Tea Board in Chennai on Friday. Photo: S. Thanthoni

K.T. Sangameswaran

With global competition turning fierce, Indian exports have come down

CHENNAI: If every Indian consumes one more cup of tea every week, there will be no crisis in the tea market. And all the production would go to the domestic market, says R.D. Nazeem, Executive Director, Tea Board.

Speaking on "Tea situation in South India" at a three-day "Tea Carnival", organised by the Board, he stressed the need for tapping the internal market. Though the consumption of tea was increasing, it was not enough. "We want people to drink more tea." Explaining that tea was "natural, fresh and healthy," he said tea prevented cancer. It was important to tell the younger generation about the good effects of consuming tea.

India was the largest producer of tea, but the country was no longer the largest exporter of the product. The country produced 850 million kg of tea, of which 200 million kg was from South India. Half of the quantity produced in the south was exported. In an era of globalisation, with competition becoming fierce, it was nearly impossible to compete in the world market. It was high time the country concentrated on the domestic market.

At the business session during the carnival, speakers highlighted how consumption of tea was highly refreshing when compared to other beverages and the added health benefits of consuming tea. They also stressed the need for value-addition and exploring new ways of delivery. They explained that it was not as though the industry was not able to produce quality tea, but the inability to position the produce in "premium shelves." The Tea Board should attach seriousness to promote tea as a health beverage.

Vivek Harinarain, managing director, Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation, gave away the prizes to winners in the competitions held in connection with the carnival. These competitions attracted a large number of participants. N. Dharmaraj, vice-president, Harrisons Malayalam Ltd., Ullas Menon, secretary-general, UPASI, T. Rangiah, president, Nilgiri District Small Tea Growers Association and Rakesh Koushik, Head-Tea Excellence Centre, HLL, were among those who spoke.

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